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What is the Role of Athletics in Preventing Bullying and Encouraging Respect ?What is...

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bdiceg | (Level 3) eNoter

Posted October 9, 2010 at 2:15 PM via web

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What is the Role of Athletics in Preventing Bullying and Encouraging Respect ?

What is the Role of Athletics in Preventing Bullying and Encouraging Respect ?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 9, 2010 at 3:52 PM (Answer #2)

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If handled in a correct manner, athletics can be a powerful element in preventing bullying and encouraging respect.  The idea of all individuals being on a team, battling towards a common goal of victory is one where there has to be mutual respect and faith in one another.  A competent coach understands this and ensures that there is one voice that drives everyone on the team to support one another and work in a paradigm of respect.  In schools, the idea of everyone being a part of the school community allows athletics to be in the position of representing this end, whereby all school members are seen as one force.  Athletics can help to externalize the "us" vs. "them" mentality, preventing intimidation and bullying within the school setting because it sees everyone as part of this end.  The reality is that some abuse this to allow athletics to engage in behavior that does not encourage respect across cliques and social setting lines.  Yet, others do believe that athletics and athletes can be powerful spokespeople against bullying and for respect, as the link below indicates.

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besure77 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted October 18, 2010 at 4:09 PM (Answer #3)

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People who take athletics very seriously are usually well disciplined. They are also aware that in order to achieve any kind of goal, team work must be present. If students are teasing or bullying another student, then this student does not value team work.

The problem is that not everyone, not even teachers, value athletics.

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ask996 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted October 27, 2010 at 12:32 PM (Answer #4)

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Athletics pushes students toward physically success. Taking control of our imperfect, human bodies and forcing them to do something athletically successful can be a great boon to our confidence. That is of course you have a coach he will help you choose challenging and reasonable goals, and it's assuming that the coach is a teacher who coaches and not a coach who teaches.

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epollock | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted October 28, 2010 at 6:03 PM (Answer #5)

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Athletics can have great results if handled properly, but it appears to divide students between those that are strong and capable of making a team and those weaker ones who do not play sports. It doesn't really build character either, as most people suggest; it merely devotes all attention to winning at all costs. It should be supportive of a school, but for many students, it becomes their school.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 28, 2010 at 6:33 PM (Answer #6)

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The esprit de corps that can be developed through good sportsmanship can, indeed, foster respectfulness.  But, it seems rather ironic that the bullying that has lately been on the news is not the old-fashioned bullying of a physically intimidating individual.  Rather, it is from those who in the "old days" would probably be bullied themselves.  They are the non-athletes who have more time to devote to their attempts to feel empowered or whatever it is that they derive from such abuse of others.

Thus, athletics may also be a positive way to direct someone's energies since students who play sports must budget their time and not waste it harrassing someone else.

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lrwilliams | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted October 29, 2010 at 1:32 PM (Answer #7)

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I think the role of athletics in bullying is dependent upon the coaches involved in the athletic program. I have seen coaches whop have actually fostered the bullying mentality in his athletes. I think this is rare though, most coaches at the high school level are concerned with not only making great athletes but making great individuals.

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted November 3, 2010 at 7:00 AM (Answer #8)

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I agree that athletics can work either way, and to be honest a great deal depends on the coaches.  Whatever tone they set will determine the attitudes and behaviors of their players.  If bullying is tolerated and even encouraged on the team, there is every likelihood it will spill over into the players' daily routines.  If a tone of respect is the standard and those who break it are called out in some way, those athletes will not become bullies.  Athletics, in general terms, makes for better students--the less time to study, the more efficient their time management has to be.  Not always, of course, but much of the time this is true.  In terms of bullying, the truth is that it's not always athletes who engage in this behavior, so who sets the standard for them?

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texasdad | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted December 11, 2010 at 3:18 PM (Answer #9)

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texasdad | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted December 11, 2010 at 3:24 PM (Answer #10)

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If handled in a correct manner, athletics can be a powerful element in preventing bullying and encouraging respect.  The idea of all individuals being on a team, battling towards a common goal of victory is one where there has to be mutual respect and faith in one another.  A competent coach understands this and ensures that there is one voice that drives everyone on the team to support one another and work in a paradigm of respect.  In schools, the idea of everyone being a part of the school community allows athletics to be in the position of representing this end, whereby all school members are seen as one force.  Athletics can help to externalize the "us" vs. "them" mentality, preventing intimidation and bullying within the school setting because it sees everyone as part of this end.  The reality is that some abuse this to allow athletics to engage in behavior that does not encourage respect across cliques and social setting lines.  Yet, others do believe that athletics and athletes can be powerful spokespeople against bullying and for respect, as the link below indicates.

You've got to be kidding.  I do respect athletic endeavor, but there is nothing inherent in sports that teaches respect for others.  Athletics does not reduce bullying in the schools when nonathletic boys are viewed as inferior since they aren't as strong as athletes.  When nonathletic boys are viewed as being inferior, bullying is the next step.  At many high schools in this country, any student who isn't an athlete or a cheerleader is viewed as not being cool and may then be targeted by bullies.  Athletics discourages bullying?  You've got to be kidding.

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texasdad | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted December 11, 2010 at 3:26 PM (Answer #11)

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People who take athletics very seriously are usually well disciplined. They are also aware that in order to achieve any kind of goal, team work must be present. If students are teasing or bullying another student, then this student does not value team work.

The problem is that not everyone, not even teachers, value athletics.

Huh?  Nonathletes are not on a team; so, your comment does not apply.

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texasdad | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted December 11, 2010 at 3:46 PM (Answer #15)

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What is the Role of Athletics in Preventing Bullying and Encouraging Respect ?

What is the Role of Athletics in Preventing Bullying and Encouraging Respect ?

Only the teaching and the practicing of strong moral convictions can prevent bullying and encourage the respect of others.  Athletics alone cannot do this, because athletics is morally neutral.  Decent coaches who care can make a difference.  But the reality seems to be that popular school sports (with football being a leading offender) are associated with a spirit of CLIQUISHNESS that encourages the bullying of any student who is different in even an innocuous way.  As recent school suicides have shown, mindless, intolerant conformity (enforced by a gaggle of "jocks" and social climbing, vain girls) can kill. 

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texasdad | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted December 11, 2010 at 4:05 PM (Answer #16)

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When coaches say that athletes are a better class of people than nonathletes, what do you think this message will engender?  Respect for others?  Uh, perhaps not.  (As for me?  I don't think nonathletes are a better class of people than athletes any more than I believe that athletes are a better class of people than nonathletes.) 

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texasdad | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted December 11, 2010 at 7:49 PM (Answer #17)

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To say that athletics discourages bullying and promotes empathy and respect for others is just as silly as saying that learning physics will cause you to be more polite to others.  All you have to do is see how nonathletic boys who do poorly at sports are treated in mandatory "sports only" P.E. classes (as opposed to genuine fitness classes).

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted December 19, 2010 at 8:30 PM (Answer #18)

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Athletics has long been associated with a person's ability to focus personal energy in a positive way. It provides a person, or student, with a physical outlet that is socially acceptable. It also allows—with the right kind of coaching—for the building of team work and camaraderie with others. (It is important that the coach is not a bully as well, which I have seen in my district.) These are skills that provide for a sense of cooperation and equality within the sport, which can often, successfully, translate into more positive behavior outside of the sports arena, especially when a young person has respect for the coach, and the coach not only fosters tolerance, but expects it and models it as well.

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 12, 2011 at 3:01 PM (Answer #19)

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What an interesting question!  There is a lot of bullying in sports, and it is accepted as normal.  The first thing we need to do is move beyond that mentality.  We need to make sure coaches are teaching anti-bullying, but not condoning bullying.

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